(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 3 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-22) Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke, wrote about the events recorded in the book in chronological order by examining the details. The first three chapters were written in this format, in sequential order and with specificity that enables the readers to pay closer attention.
The main theme of this scriptural passage is the ministry of John the Baptist who preached the baptism of repentance in the Jordan River for sins to be forgiven. Many people came to him to be baptized; we also read about the dialogue between John and these people (vv. 3:7-14).
An important facet in the relationship between God and man is that of repentance and forgiveness of sins. Nowadays, repentance and forgiveness of sin are rarely (if ever) brought up and rarer still, are the people who willingly listens. Yet, countless people are drawn to messages about God’s blessings, grace, healing and love which are popularly known as the Prosperity Gospel or Theology of Success and Abundance. It is worth noting that God is not unwilling to bless and heal mankind. After all, God is love and full of love. Nevertheless, the problem of sin can not be ignored. Sinful men must confess their sins and repent in order to be reconciled with the Holy God. The importance of this message can not be understated.
Now, let’s take a look at how John (who prepared the way for Jesus) responded when the crowd asked “What then shall we do?” (see verses 10, 12 and 14)
- To the general public, John answered, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
- To the tax collectors, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”
- To the soldiers, he replied, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
By pointing them out one by one, John clearly articulated the thoughts and actions which would have kept those who listened from entering the kingdom, so that they could bear fruit of repentance and return to Christ.
As we come before God each day, let us approach our Lord with the same question “What then shall we do?” If God reveals to your wrongdoings or deviant behavior towards others in school, at work, at home or elsewhere, then you must repent! Know that God is willing to forgive anyone who is willing to repent.
(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(vv.23-38) From Luke 3:23, we know that Jesus began His preaching ministry when He was about 30 years of age. The main theme from this scriptural passage is the genealogy of Jesus. Biblical scholars believe that the account in the Gospel of Matthew follows the paternal lineage through His earthly father Joseph, while the account in Luke follows the maternal lineage from His mother, Mary. By that inference, “Joseph, the son of Heli” from verse 23 implies that Heli is the father of Mary according to Biblical scholarship. In other words, Heli is the father-in-law of Joseph. Matthew’s account brings to fore the ancestry of Jesus as a descendant of David and Abraham; whereas Luke traces Jesus further in time to Adam, undergirding the relationship between Jesus and mankind as well as his identity as the Son of Man.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. By faith, you and I have become descendants of Abraham and children of God.
(Romans 4:16) “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…”
When I was doing scientific research, I often heard of managers of laboratories who are specialists in a certain field, raising the next-generation of specialists. We see the same patterns of next-generation musicians and artists.
Today, I invite everyone to reflect on your genealogy from the perspective of God’s kingdom. From whom did you hear the gospel and became a born-again believer? To whom have you imparted the good news? Offer a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeeming grace, for welcoming us into the family of God.
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)